James Ede; Sophia Graine; Chris Rhodes , pp. 109. ING/School of Engineering, 2011.
Adopting more sustainable consumption habits has been identified as a necessary step in the progression towards a sustainable society. In the area of sustainable consumption, personal food behaviour represents a strong leverage point. University students have been identified as a strategic audience; habits established during this transformative period can track forward into later life. This study seeks to identify the barriers inhibiting students from eating more sustainably. Perceived benefits of eating more sustainably, student food preferences, and student definitions of sustainable food are also identified. Focus groups, surveys, and interviews were carried out at universities in Europe, North America and Australia. Results show that perceived cost of sustainable food and a lack of knowledge, time and availability were ubiquitous barriers preventing students from adopting more sustainable eating habits. In addition to gathering the perceptions of others, the authors’ understanding of the challenges and benefits of eating more sustainably was augmented by a month-long self-study. Results from the self-study show that it is feasible to eat more sustainably without incurring additional costs. Recommendations informed by the focus groups, surveys, interviews and self-study are made to help students overcome the barriers to eating more sustainably.